Hurricane Alma

June 03, 2002


Provided by:

    Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster; Norman Kuring

    Hurricane Alma is shown on this SeaWiFs satellite image, taken on May 29, spinning in the eastern Pacific, off the west coast of Mexico. Even though the hurricane season doesn't officially begin until June 1, hurricanes don't always obey calendars or adhere to predictions. At the time when the image was taken, Alma was a minimal hurricane (category 1 on the 5 level Saffir-Simpson Scale) with winds 74-95 mph (119-153 km/hr). It has now been downgraded to a tropical storm and is forecast to weaken in the next 48 hours. North of the hurricane, just south of the Baja Peninsula, the yellowish white color is caused by the specular reflection (sunglint) of sunlight from the sea surface, which overwhelms the predominantly blue light reflected from just beneath the water surface. When SeaWiFS passes near the subsolar point during each southward passage, it tilts from looking 20 degrees aft of its nadir point to 20 degrees forward. This is done to minimize sunglint.

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